A woman of substance: The late Mary Ellen Fitzmaurice, 10 Slí na Mona, Ballymahon had a very positive outlook on life despite the many challenges she faced.
Born in Ballymahon, on February 18, to Tom and Katie Fitzmaurice, Mary Ellen was a much-loved only child.
Growing up in what was known as The Workhouse, with her parents and her grandmother Dolly, she had very good memories of her childhood there.
In fact, she often referred to these early years as the happiest time of her life. Later, as her parents health deteriorated, she looked after them with the utmost care and kindness.
Mary Ellen attended the Mercy Primary School in Ballymahon and had a great love for the Mercy Sisters. She had a very positive outlook on life despite the many challenges she faced.
While some of the stories about her time in the workhouse depicted an existence that had few luxuries and lacked even basic necessities, she never complained.
Her love for people and her sense of humour carried her through. Holding a grudge was anathema to Mary Ellen and she always had a good word to say about everyone.
Mary Ellen had three children, Tom, Martin and Kay, who loved her dearly. In very difficult times she worked hard to bring them up single-handedly and regardless of the cost to herself, she faced all her responsibilities with a smile. She was proud of her children and was a wonderful mother.
She worked for the Sisters of Mercy, the parish priests and for many families in the area. She loved all her employers and they in return cherished her. For over thirty years she was caretaker in the dispensary and Medical Centre in Ballymahon, where she brought a great spirit of friendliness and care.
Meeting with her friends in Club 90 brought her great joy.
A staunch fan of both Sonny Knowles and Dickie Rock, she herself was a lovely singer and frequently entertained Fr Padraig McGowan during his visits.
She particularly enjoyed the music in Jim and Mary Kenny's and in Cooney's Hotel during nights out with her daughter Kay and she was always warmly welcomed in both establishments. Great attention was given to dress and hairdo every day. Not just when she was going on an outing.
Mary Ellen's grandchildren were her joy. In fact, she had a wonderful love for all children and those she met in town were always treated to sweets. Her kind nature embraced everyone and she had a great affinity with animals. She loved her cat Lacey and Lacey actually died on the same day as Mary Ellen, March 16, eight years ago.
Ellen Keller believed that ‘the best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt by the heart’. The love that Mary Ellen shared was in truth one of the most beautiful things we have felt it in our hearts and we are truly grateful.
One of Mary Ellen's favourite verses captures her character.
“I'd like the memory of me to be a happy one. I'd like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.
“I'd like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.”
- Loved and missed and always in our hearts: Tom, Kay Martin, Lorraine and grandchildren